The Good Or Evil Debate Surrounding Legality: Psychopaths

At this point of the evolutionary chain, it’s rare that we’d admit the human race is full of ‘natural born killers.’ Recent studies into the neurological composition of the brain however, suggests otherwise: it’s been called the ‘warrior gene,’ and seems to manifest in most high-profile psychopaths.

Natural Born Killers
Scientifically known as ‘monoamine oxidase A,’ this gene is thought to decrease levels of empathy and make people more attracted to violence; for example, hurting others on a whim. Those with this gene also may know what you’re thinking, but not how you feel and have an acute sense of self-preservation. Generally, there is no need to fear the warrior gene, if they were lucky enough to spend their formative years in a reasonably idyllic childhood; however, an abusive beginning can lead to psychotic tendencies.

Neuroscientist, Jim Fallon, pioneered this research. His obsession with the inner-workings of psychopathic minds became all the more interesting when he discovered that he too had this warrior gene. According to Fallon’s mother, no less than 16 murderers were on their ancestral line. Fallon attributes his stable mind to his very good childhood, but said in an interview with npr.org that he has the ‘risky pattern’ and that he could be called a ‘born killer.’

The brain patterns exhibited by those with the warrior gene also occur in many high-achievers, especially bosses and fantastic businessmen. In many ways, the cut-throat business world has a violence of its own, quite similar to ‘survival of the fittest.’ A lack of empathy also helps for those in high places that have the power to hire and fire at will, as they will feel less upset about taking away someone’s job.

Evidence in the Courtroom
These findings have sparked a discussion on ‘neurolaw’ – when neuroscience is used in the courtroom for evidence. Some people believe that those with this gene should attract compassion, and it is thought that maybe defence lawyers, such as solicitors Liverpool, could use neuroscience to their advantage. On the other hand, the warrior gene could be a damning discovery for a suspect attempting to plead innocent, if the link to violence is true.

The Split Between the Sexes
This goes some way to explain why more psychopaths are male, rather than female. Monoamine oxidase A is passed down only on the X sex chromosome of mothers, and a man only inherits one X chromosome – that X is crucially always from mummy. Conversely, women receive two X chromosomes – one from each parent – so the warrior gene can get drowned out by a normal gene from her father.

Good and Evil
The discovery of a warrior gene has really opened up the debate on morality. Can we really condemn a psychopath as evil, if they are just born this way? We would not call a predator, which is naturally honed for killing, ‘evil.’ Especially in cases where the psychopath has been abused as a child, could we not argue that these people are victims of their own genetic make-up, as well as a mentally-scarring childhood?

Ryan Writes about Health, Environment, Home Decor, Kids, Laws in Blogger Dojo.